So I just finished the final volume of Slam Dunk (volume 31) and I’m quite disappointed with the ending.
Warning, this article will contain spoilers.
Volume 31 concludes the end of the match between Shohoku and Yamaoh Sannoh Kogyo which has been going since volume 26. Shohoku wins in the end with a score of 77-76. Rukawa and Sakuragi perform an alley-oop buzzer beater, winning the match. After that we get to read that the match after that they get completely butchered and are out of the tournament. And that’s the ending of Slam Dunk: “They lose the next match, that’s it kthxbai.”
Well, not really, but that’s kinda what it comes down to. We do get to see the character after their match against Sannoh Kogyo. Sakuragi is in rehabilitation for his back injury (which he got when he saved the ball by jumping into the jury tables), Rukawa joined the All-Japan team, Akagi and Kogure are now in college, Miyagi is the new captain of the basketball team and Mitsui is still in the basketball team.
Slam Dunk was an amazing series, definitely (one of) the best sports manga in history. The ending was really rushed tough and that sucks. I would have loved to see their match against the next (unknown) opponent, see them cry while their dreams of winning the national get shattered. Maybe cry a little myself (I pay waterpolo myself and last season we made it all the way to the nationals, but we got defeated in the first round) because I know exactly how it feels. Takehiko Inoue did create an epilogue called “Slam Dunk: 10 Days After”, but it doesn’t feel like closure to me.